Google plotting retail stores for the US

Google plotting retail stores for the US

Summary: Google already has Chromebook retail 'zones' dotted across the UK and the US, but it may also have bigger, standalone retail plans for the US in the year ahead.

Google Chrome Zone store
Is Google poised to launch retail stores in the US, such as the one in the UK above?

Google is reportedly planning to launch its own retail stores in the US.

According to The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, Google is developing plans for the stores, although has no precise launch date planned and may not unveil the stores this year.

The site 9to5Google also reported recently that Google stores were on the way, citing a likely launch date ahead of the Christmas period to enable Google to shift its growing hardware range, which includes Nexus smartphones and Chromebooks.

Whatever its decision, opening its own retail stores — a step fellow software giant Microsoft has also recently taken — would be a good idea for Google, according to some analysts.

Morgan Stanley said the move would help accelerate the adoption of Android and Chrome, according to Business Insider, and give it the platform to earn similar sums to Apple's retail presences: $50m on average per store per year off an estimated build cost of $10m per store.

Morgan Stanley cites Google job postings for engineers to develop retail Point of Sale systems as evidence for stores.

They note the stores would allow customers to test before buying Google's Nexus devices and allow the company to demonstrate new technologies such as Google Glass or its self-driving cars. Perhaps most importantly, it would fill a major gap in Google's product support infrastructure: a public face.

The company's more recent hardware challenges have been replenishing supplies of the fast-selling, low-priced Nexus 4 smartphones and Nexus 10 tablets to its online stores. 

In addition, retail stores could show off Google's Motorola-branded products, such as the rumoured X phones, which could be announced this May at the Google I/O conference, according to a report on ZDNet's sister site, CNET.

Google opened its first Chrome Zone retail outlets in London in 2011; however, these were housed within existing Dixons Retail outlets PC World and Currys. In the US it has partnered with Best Buy.

Topics: Google, Mobility, Smartphones, Tablets

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • I wonder if they'll make you sign up with a gmail account

    before being allowed to buy anything?
    William Farrel
    • Nah!

      You will need a Google account before you can walk in the store!
  • To sell Chrome books?

    Good luck... they can sell some groceries along with it and in the UK, horse meat...
    • Yup

      Would anyone really want a Chomebook? Just about everything sold will not be actually made by Google but another company. Of course Google will finally try and push the Motorola [Mobility] name as part of the store
      Unlike the Apple or Microsoft stores, you won't have someone who knows all the products but most likely just one device or maybe a group of devices. Support? Same problem.
  • Google plotting retail stores for the US

    Would anyone go into one? I might just to mess with the employees and ask them about their privacy policies. If you do go into one be sure to put your phone in airplane mode so that Google can't snoop on you.
  • will they ask me for my phone number?

    We trust chrome, android.., and the goverment.
    beau parisi
    • Errr....

      Sure glad you were kidding about your statement!

      [Oh you forgot Google privacy policies.]
  • support

    "fill a major gap in Google's product support infrastructure" - amen to that. If I have a problem with my Apple device I can at least go into an Apple store and have a chance at support. If I have a problem with my Google device, I'm pretty much on my own. This is a big weakness in Google's current model IMO.
    • You have a google device?

      Mine come from manufacturing partners that provide support. I haven't actually seen any google produced devices?
      Little Old Man
  • This will be very interesting

    Many of the comments here are indicating that these store plans from Google are going to be a fail. But let's not forget that the average consumer does not have much tech education and most are led to believe that Google is the best company in the world with a halo above it's head and every product they release is the most innovative thing in the world. We'll see who people will like more; Google or Apple: iOS or Android, iPad or Nexus, Chrome OS vs MacBook, etc. However the people who know better will stay out of this.
  • Great thing

    Despite the pointless negativity I think this will be great for both Google and I who use use their service and would appreciate physical professional support. On top of that will really help to unify their ecosystem. Many people still don't realize that Google and Android are one and the same. This could help with the mass miseducation of people and their thoughts about "droids".
    • Nope

      If I bought a Samsung Galaxy S IV [when they come out], a Google store would probably be the last place to go. First Samsung's web site, then anywhere else and then Google stores.
  • Location, Location, Location.

    Can we put a couple of these in the Dayton, Ohio region, particularly the county it sits in?
    Richard Estes
  • Google has collective Aspberger Syndrome - this may help

    They should rotate all of their engineers and decision makers through there once a year as customer-facing store personnel. This is done by some airlines and hotel companies to great benefit of consumers and the company. Then they might learn that Google is absolutely terrible at providing customer support, and in general their dealings with customers indicate the company seems unable and unwilling to understand the world of their customers. Google acts uncaring, aloof, arrogant and incompetent (yes, all those smart engineers and they are still incompetent at things, including some technology).

    Can you imagine any other company that shuts down customer support for its core product (Adsense) over weekends? How about one that ignores support requests from its merchants? I could go on....

    Google needs to get smarter about people, or people will start wishing for and seeking alternatives.

    The stores could actually help.